Jo established Immediate Theatre in 1996 to create a relationship between her work and the community in which she lives, Hackney. Prior to this, Jo worked as a freelance director and project development worker for a range of organisations leading new writing and education programmes. These included: the Royal Court, Paines Plough, the Liverpool Everyman, Theatre Venture, Theatr Powys, the Half Moon Young Peoples’ Theatre. Jo is Chair of Governors for a local Primary School, trustee of Maya Productions and Mimbre, a local Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation, and has delivered consultancy projects for the Round House and London Bubble.
During her career, Jo has developed plays which introduce older audiences of differing cultural backgrounds which was invaluable when delivering intergenerational work with funding from Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery. She has had huge success winning funding bids for Immediate, including large contracts of over £300,000, resulting in a turnover of £850,000. This reputation was recognised widely, with Jo winning awards for excellence from the Learning Trust and National Social Care & Health projects. With Immediate, Jo conceived the EbYT model, providing sustained arts activities in the most deprived areas of Hackney, and has also led on Theatre Pathways, tackling inequality for BAME young people seeking a career in the arts.
Suzy joined Immediate Theatre in June 2020, bringing with her 20 years of experience in community arts. Suzy was previously Executive Director at Theatre Peckham.
Charmain started working with Immediate Theatre in 1999. She initially became Project Coordinator for the Meet the Parents project in 2004. Her extensive experience of sex and relationship training has made this one of our most successful projects and the project is still up and running in schools across the borough today. Charmain is a level 1 and level 2 accredited tutor and has taught in a diverse range of educational settings across Hackney for over 20 years.
She has since stepped into the role of Participation Manager, taking on the management of the Estate-based Youth Theatres, the cornerstone of Immediate’s work within the community, as well as our work in Pupil Referral Units. Charmain has many strings to her bow and works across numerous projects for the company, as well as being the Deputy Safeguarding Officer. She is an extremely dedicated member of staff, so much so that we find it difficult to get her on annual leave! You will always spot Charmain from the crowd, with her amazingly polished nails and larger-than-life earrings!
Training Projects Manager
Gbenga started his career as a Youth Justice Practitioner, where he developed extensive experience engaging the hard to reach young people. After working on our Talent Match project for two years as an Outreach & Case Worker, Gbenga joined the team as Training Coordinator. Gbenga is now Training Projects Manager, leading our Pathways to Employment programme.
Outside of Immediate Theatre, Gbenga works as a freelance videographer, delivering targeted workshops and producing independent videos for street artists, galleries and individuals. He also runs Dalston Den, a creative space hosting live arts events, film screenings, and performances showcasing the best local young talents. He enjoys creating art on canvas and visiting art galleries and exhibitions.
Nadya joined Immediate Theatre in September 2018 as Youth Drama Coordinator, leading our Estate-based Youth Theatre programme. Before moving into the voluntary arts sector, she spent 6 years teaching in inner-London secondary schools and successfully formed a new Drama department, producing and directing a range of productions.
Prior to this, Nadya undertook her BA in Drama & English in Bristol, followed by 5 years working in Marketing at the BBC in Bristol and London. In her spare time, Nadya enjoys going to the theatre, cooking, yoga and, most of all, spending time with her cat, Ruby.
Marketing & Administration Officer
Georgia joined the team in 2019 as Marketing & Administration Intern, funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation’s Internship Programme, and has since become a valued member of the team in the new role of Marketing & Administration Officer. Georgia leads on all marketing and communications activity for the organisation and provides key administrative support to our programmes.
She has a background in event production and social media marketing, previously working on various arts festivals around the UK including BE FESTIVAL, Sheffield International Doc/Fest, and D&AD Pro and New Blood Festivals as well as some freelance work for theatre companies including Reveal Productions. Georgia has a BA in English Literature & Film Studies and completed an MA in Arts & Cultural Management in 2017. She is passionate about creating opportunities for young people and using the arts to address social issues and provide platforms for young people’s voices to be heard.
Youth Drama Coordinator
Hannah first joined Immediate Theatre in 2018 for a 10-week placement and has been part of our family ever since. Following her placement, she joined the Estate-based Youth Theatre team as a Facilitator and Workshop Leader, as well as supporting Gbenga on the What’s Your Story? programme. Hannah stepped into the role of Youth Drama Coordinator in March 2020 and has played a key role in supporting our participants and EbYT team to develop new ways of creating theatre throughout the pandemic.
Originally from Scotland, Hannah began her career in the Creative Learning Department at Dundee Repertory Theatre, facilitating a number of their youth and community projects. Hannah moved to London in 2016, completing her degree in BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Outside of Immediate Theatre, she is a Performing Arts Lecturer at the London College of Music and develops her own work as part of her theatre company, ‘The Stooshie Collective’.
Youth Drama Leader
Olivia joined Immediate Theatre in October 2019 for a professional placement as part of her degree. Following her placement, she continued to work on our Estate-based Youth Theatre programme for a few months, providing key support during lockdown, before officially joining the team. She is currently covering the Youth Drama Leader post, and is leading on our Speech Bubbles programme as well as our new Transitions project ‘Stepping Up’ for young people moving up to secondary school.
Originally from sunny Cyprus, Olivia moved to London in 2017 to study BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, completing her course in 2020. She is passionate about connecting with young people through drama and loves working with Immediate Theatre. In her spare time, Olivia is a nanny and enjoys spending time with friends, watching (too much) Netflix and FaceTiming her cats back in Cyprus.
Projects Administration Assistant
Lauren joined the team in April 2021 as part of the Jack Petchey Foundation’s Intern Scheme. She is a practicing artist and has over 4 years experience working in the care sector and completed a MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in 2020. She has a long-standing interest in the cultural and care sector acting as a catalyst for promoting health and wellbeing, developing community relations and challenging and changing policy through community driven initiatives.
Outside of Immediate Theatre, Lauren volunteers at The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity working within the hospital, supporting and delivering creative based projects for people living with cancer. She is passionate about supporting marginalised groups including those with additional needs, focussing on removing barriers determining levels of engagement in the cultural sector. In her spare time she is busy looking after her animals and nursing injured wildlife.
Producer - Hackney Social Radio
After working for an MP and a Nursing Trade Union, Lucie decided to travel the world as an English Teacher - she didn’t get that far, but loved where she got. She learned to surf along the way and learned landlocked London was in fact where her heart was at. Not knowing what to do with her life, she decided to get a job for every day of the week, which led her to work in a homeless hostel and to a career in homeless people’s services. Whilst helping a resident with a Shakespeare speech, she found a love of theatre, eventually leading her to train in drama and fall into theatre and TV production. From there she found her way to Immediate Theatre and her home at Hackney Social Radio.
Youth Drama Assistant
Kyarna was a participant of Immediate Theatre when she was 14 years old. After falling in love with theatre, she began working part-time and is now a full-time member of staff.
Her degree in Criminology encourages various perspectives of the challenges young people face in Hackney. She uses this knowledge and her own experience to ensure that the voices of young people are being addressed. Kyarna is motivated towards creating opportunities for individuals that are often neglected.
Associate Director (2008-2017)
We were all deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague Tony Gouveia on 31st January 2017. Tony had been Associate Director of Immediate Theatre since 2008 and his impact on our work and the lives of hundreds of young people was significant. As Sir Peter Bazalgette, recent Chair of the Arts Council said, “The doorway into the arts can be hard to find” - Tony dedicated his life to reaching out into the community, to opening the door for people, young and old, and inviting them in. His loss has been felt deeply not just by his family and the young people he worked with but by the wider arts community. Over the nearly forty years of his career he was at the forefront of innovation and excellence and worked across Britain and the world becoming a legendary figure in the world of arts participation. In recognition of his contribution Arcola Theatre has dedicated one of their studios to his legacy and to the sectors continuing commitment to keeping the door way to theatre open for all.